Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar has been ordered to rest after spending yesterday afternoon at the Cross Crossing Medical Centre, San Fernando, due to a high blood sugar level.
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Do or die for West Indies
West Indies will need another huge performance today if they are to advance into the semifinal round of the World T20 tournament, when they take on Pakistan in their fourth and final preliminary round match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. Both teams go into the match tied with two wins each and four points and the winner will join India as qualifiers from Group A for the semifinal round. Coach Ottis Gibson says it is all about execution. “We would come up with some good plans for Pakistan but the players have to go out there and do the business. The win against Australia was good. There was a lot of emotion in that game and it was great to get that win. We will look to build on that win as we play other matches.” Gibson said having the two top bowlers in this format and the number one batsman was giving the team a lot of confidence going into the matches.
Off spinner Sunil Narine is the ICC number one ranked bowler in T20, while Badree is the number two ranked. Chris Gayle is the top batsman. According to Gibson: “Having these guys on board gives us a lot of confidence and it’s good to see that in every game someone is putting his hands up and giving us that winning performance. “We have been building in every game and now the boys are looking to peak and go on to retain their title. Peaking at the right time in tournaments like these is so essential and we are looking to do just that.”
Meanwhile, with the match being played in the night here and dew a factor, the West Indies may toy with the idea of bringing in pacer Ravi Rampaul who hasn’t gotten a game in this tournament as yet. Sammy said it’s a flexible team and any one can be chosen for the next match. “It is unfortunate for Ravi who performed so well for us last time not to play so far but he has to understand the composition of the team and just how well this combination is playing. However having said that we will assess as we go long and if change is needed we will make it.”
Sammy added that there is a possibility of him moving up the order as well. “We have discussed it and what we will do is...see the match situation and use our resources as we see fit.
Also West Indies assistant coach Saqlain Mustaq, a former Pakistani off-spinner who played with many of the current team members will be able to provide the West Indies with inside information and this is a plus for the Caribbean boys going into the match.
According to Saqlain: “Yes, I am a Pakistani and obviously I follow Pakistan cricket and love to see them do well. But as a coaching professional when West Indies plays Pakistan in the tournament it will be my job and wish to see Badree, Narine and the other spinners do well and help the team win.” Saqlain said he was now enjoying the challenge of coaching bowlers for T20 cricket as the format brought out the winning streak in every player. West Indies will again enjoy the crowd support as the Pakistanis are not a popular team with the fans. Bangladesh fought Pakistan for Independence and got it in 1971. Since then both countries have not enjoyed the best of relations and the locals are expected to adopt the Windies tonight. Match starts at 7.30 pm (9.30 am T&T time).
West Indies: Darren Sammy (capt), Chris Gayle, Dwayne Smith, Andre Fletcher, Lendl Simmons, Marlon Samuels, Dwayne Bravo, Andre Russell, Denesh Ramdin, Sunil Narine, Ravi Rampaul, Krishmar Santokie, Sheldon Cottrell, Samuel Badree and Johnson Charles.
Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez (capt), Shahid Afridi, Kamran Akmal, Umar Akmal, Ahmed Shehzad, Bilawal Bhatti, Junaid Khan, Mohammed Talha, Saeed Ajmal, Sharjeel Khan, Shoaib Malik, Sohaib Maqsood, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Gul and Zulfiqar Babar.